PALO ALTO, Calif. - What happens when the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences in Stockholm is trying to tell you that you won the Nobel prize, but you're sleeping thousands of miles away in California?
Well, good thing that two Stanford professors who won the prize in economics on Monday are also neighbors in Palo Alto.
Both Paul R. Milgrom and Robert B. Wilson won the Nobel Prize in economics on Monday for “improvements to auction theory and inventions of new auction formats.”
However, only Wilson was up for the call. Milgrom was asleep and apparently, the prize winners didn't have his phone number.
Good thing the two professors are also neighbors.
Wilson and his wife went over to Milgrom's home in the dark to alert him of the good news. The interaction was captured on Nest video, which Stanford shared and made public.
"It's Bob Wilson. You've won the Nobel Prize. They're trying to reach you but they cannot. They don't seem to have a number for you," Wilson is heard saying on Milgrom's porch.
Wilson's wife is heard saying: "We gave them your cell phone number.....Will you answer your phone?"
Finally, Milgrom speaks: "Wow. Ok."
The committee said their work showed “why rational bidders tend to place bids below their own best estimate of the common value,” that is, “the value which is uncertain beforehand but, in the end, is the same for everyone.”
“(Bidders) are worried about the winner’s curse — that is, about paying too much and losing out,” the committee said.
The two won because "their discoveries have benefitted sellers, buyers and taxpayers around the world,” the Nobel Committee said, noting that the auction formats developed by the winners have been used to sell radio frequencies, fishing quotas and airport landing slots.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.